Near the horn beast, Paraceratherium (1911)
or Indricotherium (Indric beast)/Baluchitherium (beast of Baluchistan)

Phylum : Chordata
Class : Mammalia
Order : Perissodactyla
Family : Hyracodontidae
Subfamily : Indricotherinae
Genus : Paraceratherium
Species : P. bugtiense, P. transouralicum, P. prohorovi, P. orgosensis, P. zhajremensis

  • Oligocene (38 - 20,4 Ma)
  • 9,5 m long and 15 000 kg (size)
  • Pakistan, Mongolia and western China (map)

Ever since its scattered, oversized remains were discovered in the early 20th century, Indricotherium has occasioned controversy among paleontologists, who have named this giant mammal not once, but three times–Indricotherium, Paraceratherium and Baluchitherium have all been in common usage, with the first two currently battling it out for supremacy. (For the record, Paraceratherium seems to have won the race among paleontologists, but Indricotherium is still preferred by the general public–and may yet wind up being assigned to a separate, but similar, genus.)

Whatever you choose to call it, Indricotherium was, hands-down, the largest terrestrial mammal that ever lived, approaching the size of the giant sauropod dinosaurs that preceded it by over a hundred million years. An ancestor of the modern rhinoceros, the 15-to-20-ton Indricotherium had a relatively long neck (though nothing approaching what you’d see on a Diplodocus or Brachiosaurus) and surprisingly thin legs with three-toed feet, which years ago used to be portrayed as elephant-like stumps. The fossil evidence is lacking, but this huge herbivore probably possessed a prehensile upper lip–not quite a trunk, but an appendage flexible enough to allow it to grab and tear the tall leaves of trees.

To date, fossils of Indricotherium have only been found in the central and eastern parts of Eurasia, but it’s possible that this gigantic mammal also stomped across the plains of western Europe and (conceivably) other continents as well during the Oligocene epoch. Classified as a “hyrocodont” mammal, one of its closest relatives was the much smaller (only about 500 pound) Hyracodon, a distant North American anecstor of the modern rhinoceros.


Genus Paraceratherium

Also referred to as  Indricotherium or Baluchitherium is an genus of animals that are similar to the extant genus of rhinos. they lived in Eurasia during the Oligocene epoch. and were fist unearthed in Pakistan  they are the largest land mammals to ever exist towering at 16 ft tall at the shoulder and 40 feet long and weighing in at 20 tons. they were most likely herbivores using their downward pointing tusks to rip leaves off of tall trees. 



Paraceratherium transouralicum with a large bull African Bush Elephant, a giraffe (Giraffa sp.) and human for scale. It’s worth pointing out that this specimen is smaller than the one illustrated in Wood (1983) and that the stem-rhinoceros may not be as superlative as commonly stated:

[I]t would be difficult to argue convincingly that the largest indricotheres were larger than the largest proboscideans—both seem to have been slightly more than twice as heavy as the largest African elephants

Fortelius, M. & Kappelman, J. (1993) The largest land mammal ever imagined. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 107 85-101.

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